“Sunrise. The best time of day. Beautiful natural light peeking over the ocean’s unobstructed horizon, at first casting silhouettes of everything in its path before revealing the true beauty of the landscape we venture to. This time it’s a cultural gold mine: St. Croix, an island ripe with culture and ready for exploration.”
“Which country is your favorite?” What a loaded question, eh? Everywhere I’ve traveled, I feel I’ve left a bit of my heart. Myanmar though—that country really stole my heart. Big smiles come to mind when I think of Myanmar—big, toothy, sometimes crimson, betel-stained grins. Genuine warmth radiates from the people there. From the charming mountain town of Hsipaw, we walked through farming communities up into the clouds where we were welcomed into small Palaung villages, and homes of the kindest and most curious folks I’ve met. Trekking in Myanmar was simply unforgettable.
If you’re looking for outstanding snorkeling and affordable travel rates, a Belize snorkeling trip should be next on your list of vacations. Just off the coast of the country is the Belize Barrier Reef. The reef is the second largest in the world and is well-known for the Great Blue Hole, which is a giant marine sinkhole. The lively marine life, warm temperatures, and light blue color of the water makes for incredible snorkeling.
Even on our honeymoon, we couldn’t just pick a relaxing vacation. Travel for us has always been about seeking adventure, meeting locals, taking in all the smells and sights, and feeling like we’re getting off the beaten path. Sri Lanka was becoming a hip destination by the time my husband and I married in 2017. I remember seeing Instagram smothered in images of young travelers hanging out of train windows, vistas over Sigiriya Rock, palm trees that seemed to spill straight into the ocean, and elephant safaris. It was attractive, but I knew our Sri Lanka vacation would offer us even more than what meets the eye.
My shins are literally sweating.” I was earning my stripes on this inaugural bikepacking trip in Costa Rica. Literally, sweat was drawing lines through the dirt caked on my legs. It had already been a long, exhausting day of riding, and we were only halfway to our destination. Riding through the touristed town near Playa Flamingo, we popped out on the beach. The air wreaked of suntan lotion as we strode past the crowds on the hard-packed sand. That mile of beach riding was exhilarating! Finding our own nook on the beach, we stripped off our sweat-soaked clothes. I removed my shoes and laughed at my ghostly-white feet, contrasting against the morning’s accumulation of grime. Aaron and I ran toward the clear, turquoise water and tripped into a refreshing haze of bliss.
While Mexico is considered the go to place for warm, beach vacations, many of these alluring spots are heavily populated by tourists. People just like you, looking for the exact same experience in the exact same place. Just like that, those once pristine beaches are over-populated and lacking the relaxing getaway you were daydreaming about.
Travel, for many people, is a very scary thing. The idea of venturing to an unknown place where you don’t know anybody has the capability of intimidating the best of us. The beauty, however, lies in us making the decision to face our fears directly. For me, Colombia was one of those places.
Last winter, I was lucky enough to spend a month working as a specialty English teacher at the ACES School in Palmas, Brazil. When I wasn’t in the classroom, I explored the small and beautiful city with the families I stayed with and some local teachers who took me under their wing. My “teacher friends” helped me with my Portuguese while we explored hidden waterfalls and secret beaches—and of course while we sat for hours at barbecue joints.
Laos is truly one of my favorite untraveled destinations. Between the food and the scenery, I got lost in a frenzy of travel bliss. This country will likely never blow up to an obnoxious level of tourism, so anytime is a great time to get your feet wet out there.
Cinque Terre holds much more behind the meaning “Five Lands.” Within this rugged portion of the Italian Riveria lies breathtaking views, mouthwatering cuisine, crisp local wine, and a lifestyle that is hard to stray away from. These five small fishing villages are laced together by six miles of hiking trails. Each step you take is a journey through the untamed Italian landscape with views that open up to each unique village filled with laid-back locals and sun-kissed travelers. Imagine this…
My travels have taken me near and far these past few years. The top of Australia’s Sydney Harbor Bridge at sunset, swimming with wild dolphins off the shores of the Galapagos Islands, and most recently mountain biking to a remote waterfall in the mountains of Colombia. But what makes travel so special isn’t just epic destinations or experiences—it’s the people and cultures who bring them to life. For this, there is one place that stands out in my memory. Ponta do Ouro, Mozambique.